The COVID-19 pandemic has motivated companies to double down on employee experience and wellbeing, and to understand how those things directly tie to productivity and retention rates. Employee benefits have a critical role: A 2021 survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services showed that 80% of executives believe it’s important that employees engage with and take full advantage of their benefits.
They cited a multitude of reasons why, with employee welfare high among them. When asked to identify the most valuable outcomes from strong employee engagement with benefits, 71% cited healthier employees, 52% cited improved employee retention, and 42% cited lower healthcare costs overall. This trend underscores how critical it is to provide the right balance of tools, perks, and benefits to ensure employees are productive, engaged, and happy, because employee experience and wellbeing directly correlate to a company’s bottom line.
Andrew Dubowec, chief growth officer at League, and Cristina Goldt, general manager, talent optimization at Workday, recently led a customer roundtable to talk about how the pandemic has dramatically upleveled the importance of employee experience, all the way up to the C-suite. League is a Workday Ventures’ portfolio company—and its health operating system integrates with Workday Human Capital Management to increase efficiency and accuracy of employee benefit enrollment. Below is an excerpt of my follow-up conversation with Andrew and Cristina.
What connection do you see among employee experience, wellbeing, and digital transformation?
Andrew Dubowec: What we’ve seen across the market is an elevation and intersection of organizational priorities. Digital transformation, the employee experience, and employee health and wellbeing are now all critical company priorities, and they should be tightly integrated.
When it comes to employee healthcare, organizations have traditionally focused on the specific programs they offer (such as mental health support, fertility, diabetes management, etc.), but now there’s a more thoughtful approach to how these programs are delivered. We can leverage technology to create a “digital front door” for employees and eliminate the friction and frustration they face when trying to access, navigate, and pay for care. Having a single, personalized point of access can greatly reduce the burden on employees when trying to access the programs they need.
While human resources has been at the forefront of this intersection, how did the pandemic change the perception of employee experience for the C-suite?
Cristina Goldt: The pandemic forced the C-suite to think about how employee wellbeing directly correlates to not only employee productivity but also company retention rates. From a cost perspective, companies spend a lot of effort, money, and other resources trying to figure out the best programs to offer employees. Unfortunately, they don’t necessarily get the optimal return for those investments because employees may not know what programs are available or how to find them.
Using artificial intelligence and other technologies to deliver the right programs to the right people has been a game-changer in a distributed work environment, but it won’t stop even as people return to the office. Employers that consider the spectrum of wellbeing tend to see better retention and productivity outcomes for their organizations. As a result, CEOs are hiring chief wellbeing officers or empowering a wellness group to support productivity and financial goals.